Who would have thought that a company that started off creating TV commercials using computer graphics would in just 18 years evolve to become one of Myanmar's leading broadcasters.
Established in 1995, Forever Group's reach covers free-to-air, digital, high definition and international media. It boasts some of the most watched channels in Myanmar which include MRTV-4, For Info, For Drama, For Sports and Channel 7, amongst others.
With a population of 60 million, Myanmar is witnessing a dramatic change in its development. While many of its TV programmes are still broadcast in standard definition, TV stations and production houses in its capital Yangon, and other major cities, are quickly embracing high definition to meet the demands of its viewers.
Throughout its history, Forever Group has consistently proven itself as a pioneer. In 2001, with the co-operation of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Information, it launched the country's first e-education learning system. That was quickly followed by the introduction of Myanmar's first e-book business in 2003. Two years later, Forever launched the country's first ever pay TV service.
Its most recent achievement was in 2012. Its Channel 7 station created history by producing Myanmar's first drama series, 'The Sign of Love'.
Featuring 26 episodes, 'The Sign of Love' has a loyal following in Myanmar and even has its very own Facebook page.
From a technical point of view, what makes 'The Sign of Love' stand out is the choice of camera. For this 26-episode series, Forever turned to the Sony PMW-F3, which is part of Sony's renowned CineAlta™ digital cinematography range.
Besides being drawn to the F3's 35mm filmic quality look, Forever recognized that professional camcorders are only the beginning of a workflow that can include significant post-production. Sony's camcorders are designed to work with a robust production "platform" that includes convenient recording media, compatible studio decks, direct-to-edit operation with major non-linear editors, and more. The PMW-F3 is no exception. By including XDCAM EX recording and two slots for solid-state SxS® memory cards, the F3 offers a proven, versatile workflow solution right out of the box.
A firm believer in keeping up with the latest in broadcast technology, Forever's suite of products covers both SD as well as HD. Besides the PMW-F3 which is ideal for films, dramas, documentaries and other high-end film applications, Forever has also invested in the Sony HXC-D70 SD/HD system camera.
The feature-packed HXC-D70 studio camera has very quickly proven to be a workhorse for MRTV-4, undoubtedly Myanmar's most watched channel, and for good reason too. The 24 hours free-to-air channel is a station in itself, with its wide range of programmes covering everything from news to sports, talk shows to documentaries, game shows and live sporting events like the Myanmar National League.
Mr Pyae Phyo Han, Head of Resources of Forever Group, explains the rationale for investing in the HXC-D70, "The D70 is both suited for indoor and outdoor productions. With its easy data transfer, small bit rate and ease of use in post production, the D70 works very well within our workflow."
Working with a wide range of stations and content provides a myriad of challenges for any broadcaster. To ensure an effective workflow across its various operations, Forever has picked another proven Sony solution, the XDCAM 422 format, to work alongside AVCHD.
Adds Mr Pyae, "AVCHD has served us very well with its smaller file size and the ability to record in SDXC card. In XDCAM, we enjoy very high quality HD recordings at a bit rate of 50Mbps using MPEG 4:2:2."
And delivering high quality productions is certainly one of Forever Group's top priorities. As Mr Pyae attests, "The only way we can give our viewers the best is to keep pace with the latest in broadcast technology."
As Forever expands its reach with more innovative content and channels, it can certainly count on Sony to help it achieve its goal on transforming the broadcast industry in Myanmar.